In our interview with Noor Dahri, an independent counter-terrorism researcher in London and an honorary member of the Zionist Federation in the UK, he explains how his search for truth led him to become a Pakistani Muslim that is pro-Israel and pro Zionism.
Noor Dahri, please provide a brief background about yourself:
I am originally from Pakistan, but have been living in the UK for a long time. I am a follower of the Salafi thought of Islam. I currently work for the London Police department and am a member of several national and international organizations including the Zionist Federation-UK.
How did you come to be such a strong supporter of Israel?
Well, I was very extreme back in the day. I saw life differently than I do now. I am thankful to G-d that I didn’t follow blindly or copy the people around me. I listened to myself and not what the other people would say. I had enough sense to judge the situation. It was my nature to know everything in detail. That’s why when I was an extremist, I learned everything in depth. I loved books since I was very young and always searched for the truth. I changed many times within the branches of Islam to find out which is the right path. I searched all around me to know the reality, even if it was a risk to my life. In my life, I read many anti-Israel books and some of those were actually in my personal home library. Since I studied Counter Terrorism from the International Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT-Herzilya), my mind was opened to a completely different picture of Israel. So I decided to learn more about the actual truth. I read many books, talked to many intellectual people of Israel and had discussions on social media platforms. As soon as I found out the truth, I did not waste a single minute to announce my adherence to the Zionist Federation.
How do you hope to promote more support for Israel and who are you promoting to?
My main focus is to promote support for Israel within the Pakistani community in the UK and in Pakistan. I am hopeful that the new generation of Pakistan is more educated and learned than the generations before them. The world has become a global village, particularly within social media connected countries and nations turning them into one family. People assess and analyze the Pal-Israel conflict more deeply than it was before. Therefore I believe many more people will come forward and join this cause.
Why do you feel it is so important to be outspoken about your support of Israel, especially as it may put you in danger or in conflict with those close to you?
As I stated before, I always remained outspoken whether I was a religious extremist or a political Zionist. As a human, I still fear of reaction from my Co Muslims extremists, but I trust in Allah, he is the protector of everyone. I believe that the cause I have started is actually a cause of Prophets for every religion. I cannot stay home to hide my political affiliation, I worked very hard to know the truth, to know how extremism affects someone’s personal and even eternal life. Unfortunately, so many people in my community are still unaware of the truth. They are religiously and politically biased and do not use their mind or search about the facts. There should be someone who belongs to their community, their culture, and their religion, that can educate them about the truth.
Another thing that I must mention here is that I have very strong religious beliefs. People are still in shock that I am a religious Muslim that joined the ZF. Some even blamed me as being part of Qadiyani, a group that is declared as non-Muslim but they still consider themselves as Muslims. This was the main reason people of my community drew their deep attention to me. They wanted to know the reason that I took this big leap which can ultimately place my personal life and religious affiliation in danger.
What do you have to say to those that claim that Muslims cannot support Israel? Aren’t there statements in the Quran that speak negatively about Jews?
Religious point of view on this issue is not my field, but I will put light on it according to my personal opinion. In the Quran, there is nothing new against the Jews. The Quran repeats the stories of Bani Israel. The stories which are already mentioned in the holy Taurate (Old Testament) and have been repeated in the Quran by Allah (SWT). There are good and bad people in every society, so the bad people are condemned and good people are praised in the Old Testament. The Quran repeated the same stories of the good and bad people of the Bani Israel. Therefore, I cannot understand why people see the verses that condemn the bad people of Israel but don’t see the verses that praise the good people of Bani Israel! This is the common problem in our Muslim community. They are quick to blame other religious but do not see their own actions that go against the teachings of Islam. The Quran declared the land of Israel to the Jews. It belonged to Bani Israel. Jews are the indigenous people of the land of Israel and they will remain there till the day of Judgement. It is mentioned in the Quran. So it is that Muslim’s religious duty to support Israel and the Jewish community, according to the commandment of Allah (SWT).
Are you showing support to Israel as a Muslim, as a Pakistani, or as both? Meaning, do you feel it is imperative for all Muslims to support Israel or for all Pakistanis to support Israel?
I am proud to be a Pakistani Muslim. I fully support Israel because being a Pakistani it is not my war, whether a religious war or a political war. There is no justification to support the Arab nationalism which already contradicted the teachings of Islam. My first preference is to address my Pakistani community as being a Pakistani Muslim and if any non-Pakistani benefits from my work that would be wonderful. My advice to my Pakistani community is that they try to interact with the Israeli community and speak to them regarding Israel-Pal conflict. They will definitely address them according to the historical and political facts. My community needs to listen to the other side of conflict. How could they judge a one-sided story and make up their minds?
What relationship do Pakistan and Israel have that you feel can facilitate closer ties in the future? Why is it important for these two countries to have closer ties?
There are many similarities between Israelis and Pakistanis. There are religious and political similarities. They both struggled to achieve independence and they are persecuted from other communities. The main similarity is that Jews are the people of the book, a monotheistic religion just as Islam. They follow strict dietary laws of halal/kosher. Their religious rituals are very similar to the Islamic rituals. Pakistan is a very strong country within the Islamic world, just as Israel is strong too. They both have powerful armies and intelligence networks in the world. Both countries have influence in the world. Making close ties and having open relations would be beneficial for the future of both nations and both religions. There’s no doubt that Israel and Pakistan did have a hard time to normalize these relations. Unfortunately Pakistani political leaders are so afraid of religious reaction in the country since religious bloc is very powerful in Pakistan. But I hope, one day people of Pakistan will break this wall of hate and embrace each other to create a religious and political coherent relationship.
Do you believe more people such as yourself will come out and speak out in support of Israel or do most fear doing so?
It will take some time, but I am positive. I still remember when I joined the ZF (Zionist Federation). I feared the strong reaction from the Pakistani community in Pakistan. I was not expecting a single Pakistani Muslim would stand firm with me, but, to be honest, the Pakistani community proved me wrong. They rushed in supporting my cause. I was amazed to see some religious people from Pakistan that supported my cause. They stood in support with Israel and that was a very courageous move for them. I pass my congratulations to my community who not only supported, but listened and understood me and my efforts to advocate for Israel. There is a huge fear in Pakistan from religious persecution. This is why people do not speak out and it will definitely take some time. However I am so positive and believe in my nation that they will come up and will support the truth. In Shaa Allah
In your opinion, do you feel Israel and Palestinian Arabs will reach a lasting peace in our lifetime? What needs to be done in order to reach that peace?
This is a very complicated question like the Pal-Israel conflict. As I said before, the social media boarded the minds of both communities. There are many people in both communities who started trusting each other. People see the naked facts that Israel is not their enemy. Thousands of Palestinians enter into Israel to work on a daily basis. They experience the friendly welcome of Israelis and they see that the Israeli market pays them four times better than their Palestinian authorities. They receive insurance, their medical treatment is free in Israeli hospitals, and their basic human life cost is much better in Israel than in Gaza or the West Bank. Once they retire they get full pension from Israeli companies with full employment rights. They see the lifestyle of Arab Israelis. They see the minarets of Mosques in Israel are still shining, and they hear the loudspeaker of those mosque calls for 5 times of daily prayers. The Palestinian’s new generation is assessing the situation very deeply, but unfortunately their political leaders hijacked them, and their religious leaders blackmailed them. These people need to free themselves from these ruthless political establishments. Israel is ready to give them their state and restore their honour, but they need to accept the fact, which is the reality of Israel’s existence. I hope, that if not in my time, at least the new generation will see these strong relations, so the lives of both nations will live in peace.
What is your take on the current situation overall in the Middle East? Which countries do you feel are pivotal in creating calm in the mayhem that is currently taking place in all the countries situated between Israel and Pakistan?
Well, I do not see any strong Islamic country in the Middle East that can come forward to calm the current situation except Pakistan. Pakistan is the only Islamic country that has huge influence in the Arab world because of the many political and military reasons. The Arab world listens and accepts any positive decision taken by Pakistan to resolve this conflict. Pakistan is the only Islamic country that has nuclear arsenals by one of the world’s most powerful army. When any Arab-Israel issue arises, The Arab countries always seek advice from Pakistan. Pakistan can play a very crucial role in normalizing relations between Arabs and Israel. Israel should keep focus on Pakistan more than the other Arab countries. I believe, if Pakistan accepts Israel or at least normalizes political relations with Israel, the Arab nations would not spend a single minute to follow the political path of Pakistan towards Israel.
Feel free to address any other issues.
There are many issues that need to be resolved. Currently, my main issue is to educate my community through my available efforts and resources. I think well-resourced and educated people should come forward to help me present the positive image to my community. The prime matter is a lack of knowledge in my community about this historical conflict. I have many limited resources and I use them all very effectively to highlight this issue within my community. The Pakistani community is well educated and intelligent so they can accept the truth if we present them the reality complete with evidence. Unfortunately, there aren’t any resources to educate the Pakistani community. There is no organization, platform, web site, books in Urdu, or any media coverage to tell the positivity of Israel towards Muslims and Arab Israelis.
I am working hard to establish a platform where I can raise these issues and show my community the facts about Israel, which the local or cross-border media do not show them. Pakistan and the Pakistani community are very strong in the world, especially on the political stage. Pakistani people contribute in international, political, and research departments and they can play a very crucial role if they know the reality about Israel and the Israeli people. From this platform, I invite all Muslim Zionists, especially Asians/Pakistani Zionists, including Kasim Hafeez, Farhana Rahman, and Saba Rasheed to come forward and join my struggle and work with me shoulder to shoulder for the community.